What a perfect place to kick back and relax for two days. Our idea of a rest day isn’t just sitting with our legs up; we would rather take the opportunity to explore the local area around our rest-stop B&B. And explore, we did. To begin, we noticed from our room windows that Hallstatt was quiet and without tourists. The folks at the B&B, however, indicated that tour buses would soon arrive and unload their riders, jamming the narrow streets with people.
The hotel, Bräugasthof Lobisser, served a marvelous breakfast which we thoroughly enjoyed.
After a little strolling along the narrow “streets” (more like paths) as they zigzagged up the hill, we walked over to the hillside tram, or funicular, to ride up to the salt mine.
As we rode up the tram, we had a bird’s perspective of the heart of tiny Hallstatt!
The Skywalk, a viewing platform on a cliff 350 meters above Hallstatt at the top of the funicular, was a little unnerving since it had no visible support.
From the tram we walked toward the salt mine along a trail that was interspersed with signs describing local life as it might have been when the salt mines were first active, several thousand years ago. The trail is also punctuated with exhibits and information about the continuous operation of the salt mines over those many centuries and about many workers’ graves which had been exhumed by local archeologists.
Upon reaching the mine, we were suited up in very fashionable garb. Our outfits rather made us appear to be a part of a work-release program! Going underground we toured the mine, saw an underground lake caused by the mining, slid down two, long, wooden slides which brought us to a small, very fast, narrow-gauge railway to exit our underground adventure.
After a great time in the heart of the local mountain region, the Salzkammergut, we rode the funicular back down the mountain. The rest of the day was consumed with window shopping, ice cream eating, and sightseeing.